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CORNELL
UNIVERSITY LIBRARY

DATE DUE

..^P''

edited bv

Cornell University Library

The

original of this bool<

is in

the Cornell University Library.

There are no known copyright

restrictions in

the United States on the use of the text.

http://www.archive.org/details/cu31924029935784

Stage Illusions

Compiled and Edited

BY

WILL GOLDSTON
Author of " Exclusive Magical
" Tricks
Secrets

"

and Illusions" " More Tricks and Puzzles "
Sfc,
&'c.

Publishers

THE MAGICIAN

ROBIN HOOD YARD LONDON, E.C.
LTD.,

Contents.
Pago
tntroductlon

^

PART
Illusions in -which
The Mysterious Lady

I.

an Assistant appears.
® ^
1"

An An

Indian Basket Trick
EflFective

Change

A

Good Levitation The Glass-Lined Trunk The Vanishing Trunk The Golden Fly The Flower Girl The Vanishing Lady A Furnished Drawing-Eoom and Lady produce^ from Nowhere

12 1* 16 20
22 24

30
33

An

Oriental Dish The Rapid Transit Phantom Decapitation Two Sack Tricks

35 36 37
41

Cremation Illusions

PART
Two Tubs
The Spirit Blackboard The Growth of Flowers
.

II.

Miscellaneous Illusions.
48
60
52

Sham

Spiritualism

61

The Drum which Can't be Beaten Novel Mirror Illusion The Vanishing Sketch..
.

Conradi's Coin-Ladder

.

73 74 76
77 81

The Cauldron of Macbeth A Table from a Shawl.. The Vanishing Lamp The Latest Spirit Picture
.

An

Inexhaustible Coffee-Pot Produced from an Materializing a Table ..

Empty Table

A Number

of Box Escapes Explained The Crystal Chest The East to "West Mystery The Escape of Cinderella

97
101
.

Original Flying Handkerchiefs Illusion j-r/? The Gambler's Bride Illusion
. .

106
109

J

Introduction
r

I -*-

THERE

is

states that half a loaf is better

an old and very wise saying which than no bread.
to

The saying occurred
the

me when

I was putting the

finishing touches to this little volume.

man who

I am sure that does not possess the volumes of " The
will find

Magician " and the " Magician Annuals "
this

"half loaf" of magic very acceptable.
all.

It

is

certainly better than no magic at

I turn, in imagination, to
possess

all

those

who already

the volumes of

" The Magician " and the

"Magician Annuals."

Do

I

abase myself before

those gentlemen because I have

made up this little volume from matter which they already possess?

No

—very far

from no.

I feel that I have done

all

those gentlemen a good turn, because I have arranged

the information in this volume in such a

way that

it

can be acquired with the greatest ease.
This
is

an age in which, in order to succeed, one

must

specialise.

One conjuror

will

specialise

in

thought-reading tricks, another in silent illusion

acts,

another in sleight-of-hand tricks, another in the presentation of what I may call " large apparatus "
tricks.

This book will appeal primarily to

illusionists,

but I fancy that other magicians
is

will find that it

well worth perusal.

I have heard of illusionistB

4

INTHODUCTION
of

who have produced some

their

best

effects

by

merely enlarging small sleight-of-hand tricks, and I

have no doubt that some sleight-of-hand performers
have been equally successful in devising new tricks

by merely watching ing " the illusions
Therefore,

illusionists at

work and " reducsize.

to

drawing-room

whether you are an

illusionist or

a

sleight-of-hand performer, I trust that you will find

something to think about in this

little

volume.

PART
Illusions in Which

I.

an Assistant

appears

6

STAGE ILLUSION*

The Mysterious Lady
A
lady stands on centre of a platform, away from
the backcloth.

The performer thrusts a long stick under and around the platform to prove that no The curtains are lowered is fired, up go the disappeared. The immediately haul down the fittings and

traps or mirrors are used.

round the lady. A revolver curtains, and the lady has
assistants

No.

1.

curtains,

and then wheel off the platform. appears amongst the audience.

The lady

Explanation:

Illustration No. 2. represents mirrors arranged underneath the platform. B is a small pulley wheel to which is fitted strong cord,

A

and passed through

C

C, and proceeds

down the

centre leg of platform.

the hand of an assistant.

The end of cord is in To make mirrors ascend

STAGE ILLUSIONS
the oord
is

C

is

pulled.

Of

course,

when the lady

ready to vanish, the assistant slackens the cord, the mirror falls at 45 degrees; the lady then con-

ceals

herself
off

wheeled
tion.

the stage.

behind the mirror. She is then The rest needs no explana-

An
The
table
is

Indian Basket TricK

the audience is that a light bamboo shown, free from preparation, and a basket placed on top. The performer removes several parts
effect to

of a

human

covers

body, and throwing them up the parts with a cloth.

into the basket,

Upon

the lid

being opened later, the body
basket,
still

is

seen to rise

up

in the

covered up by the cloth, and jumps down,
alive.

showing himself to be

;

8

STAGE ILLUSIONS

The plot should be

cast with one or

more

assistants,

as during one part of the trick it is absolutely essential that someone should crawl under the table. The reason for this will be made clear later in the

explanation.

be seen in the illustration, the first peculiarity of the basket is that the lid is of such a width that when the basket is open the lower edge comes within about a foot of the ground, just

As

will

suflBcient to

convince the audience that no trap doors

are used.

The second
is

is

that at the back of the

division running right and that the back covers have holes right through. The table legs at the back are hollow, and in placing the basket upon it care must be taken to put the hollow legs over corresponding holeg in the stage, and the basket over the holes in the table top these are, of course, lost sight of in the design on the table top. Now a rather more elaborate affair is concealed in the back division of the basket, and is designed to give the impression that someone is

basket there
along,

a

separate

STAGE ILLUSIONS
holding up the cloth when covered over just aa the vanishing lady is worked. It is apparent, however, that aa apace is limited, so it ia designed to fall forward from a hinged joint when withdrawn from the

_^

iimiiumtii

basket, and has a hole in each corner to correspond with the holes in the basket. As soon as the basket is opened the cloth which covers the apparently dissected body is thrown over the back division, so screening it from view. The

body

is

now taken out and

replaced in the basket,

care being taken to tuck the cloth well

down behind

10

STAGE ILLUSIONS

the rod, and to fasten
vided.

Now

the lid

the hollow legs of These engage the apparatus, to which
the cloth, pushing
it

by means of the clips proand rods are pushed up the table from below.
it
is

raised

is

fastened
action of

slowly upwards.

The

now be shown, as the cloth is carried forward well over the edge of the basket, and gives the appearance of a human being lifting up the cover as he rises from the basket. The assistant, seeing the terrible appstrition of a
the hinge will
living

body being produced, shrinks with fear and

hides under the table.

trap to open and a

man

Just so; this allows a stage to climb up into the basket,

as the screen formed by the assistant's body just masks the opening between the stage and the lid. The steps are withdrawn and the trap closed, the man stepping into the basket under the cloth, and lifting the framework off the supporting poles, which are immediately withdrawn under the stage. Lowering the cloth and framework in front of him, he deposits them in the basket and steps out and off the

table.

An

Effective

Change

The performer dons a black cloak and walks to the centre of the stage, at the same time covering
the whole of his body; a pistol
is

placed in his hand,

when he immediately

number of shots. the cloak, and the audience are somewhat astonished to see a lady in place of the perfires
off

a

He

throws

off

former.

A

of the hall,

loud report quickly follows from the pit and the performer is seen making his

way on

to the stage.

STASE ILLUSIONS

11

The trap and cloak are responsible for the change. The performer covers himself with a cloak fitted with

^illMffll^^'^^liilMill^^

a wire shape, which

is

constructed to stand of

its

own

accord.

The trap is lowered (as illustrated), when up comes the lady taking
performer's place.

lady's

The pistol is placed hand (although
the

in tiie
it
is
is

believed
there)
;

performer
is

still

the firing

an excuse

for allowing the conjuror to get

to the front of the hall through

th« private entrance.

12

STAGE ILLUSIONS

A
This illusion
a theatre stage,

Good Levitation
is

more suited

for a side

as it requires careful

show than and accurate

lady reclines on adjustment to make it a success. the stage, and in response to the passes of the per-

A

former rises slowly in the air, and a solid hoop then passed round the suspended lady.

is

The back scene

is

of

some striped material,

to

help conceal the presence of the thin wires on which A steel cradle, as in the drawthe illusion depends.
ing,
is

connected up with two endless wires passing
it is

over a long drum, round which
it
is

lapped to give

a hold.

By having

a slotted stage the steel cradle

enabled to pass through the stage out of sight,

and by means of a shaped plug this slot can be filled up whenever the cradle passes through the stage, and it can be removed again to allow the cradle to
recede again.

The lady reclines on the stage in the correct place, and an assistant gradually winds up the drum, thus winding on the top wire and unwinding the bottom at the same time in fact, the wires act in the same manner as if two steel bars were supporting the body. Another assistant underneath the stage looks after the placing and r^moving of the plug. The passing of the hoop round the body is too well known to need any explanation.
;

STAGE ILLUSIONS

13

PiCCE TO iUOE OUT near to asckmo ^ ocscend

14

«TA«B ILLUSIONS

The
An empty

Glass=lined
is

TrunK

trunk

seen standing on a platform,

four sheets of clear plate glass are shown, and fitted
into frames at the sides, front,
side of box.

The performer

lifts

of

box and

bolts it to the sides,

and back of the inup the front flap the lid is dropped and

locked to the front in the usual way.
twice,

The stand holding the trunk is turned around when knocking is distinctly heard against glass. The trunk is quickly opened, when a young
lady
is

seen seated in the centre of the trunk.

examination of the illustration it will be seen that the lady is concealed behind the box on the projecting ledge. Immediately the box is closed, the lady pushes the back sheet of glass, which is made to
elide to the front

On

by means of the moving frame. The lady assistant slides back the ledge on which she was previously resting, fastens the back entrance in box, and loudly bangs against the glass.

STAGE TLLUBIONS

IB

^ft/yg-Z?

Mnom

PLPiNofdflCHQfrffuN/f^TTi&z

16

STAGE ILLUSIONS

The Vanishing TrunR
Effect
large trunk of the American type is standing on a pedestal on the stage. Perseen former then introduces a young lady, whom he large cloth now descends places in the trunk.
:

—A

A

from the flies, completely covering the trunk. By an arrangement of lifting tackle the trunk is then The performer then fires a hoisted in mid-air. pistol at the suspended trunk, when the cloth collapses and falls to the ground, the trunk and lady having completely vanished.

As wiU be seen, the CoNSTKUCTioN AND WoBKiNG trunk is a folding one, and capable of being concealed in the top of the pedestal, the back of the box or trunk having figured felt to correspond with the top of the pedestal. The back of the trunk has a trap also concealed in it, which will
:

allow of the lady escaping into the pair of steps.

She can go right through the stage, if there is a trap in use, or else the steps can be wheeled into the wings, thus enabling her to make her appearance again in any way desired. To hide the escape of the lady from the trunk to the steps, a large cloth is lowered from the
flies.

This cloth has a portion cut away at the

bottom to correspond with the trap in the trunk, and is not noticed in the act of lowering it, because the cloth comes down in a half-folded
condition.

This cloth
pull

is

suspended from a batten, and
it

is

capable of being released from

on a stout cord.

by means of a Inside the cloth is sewn a

shape which exactly covers the top of the trunk;

STAGE ILLUSIONS

17

18

STASB ILLUSIONS

STAGE ILLDSIONS
consequently,
will fall

19
pulled, the shape

when the cord

is

on the top of the trunk.
its solidity,

Before pulling
gives time for

the cord the performer takes a stick and raps the

trunk to show

and thus

the lady to get into the steps, which are removed.

The pedestal with the covered trunk is now wheeled to another part of the stage, underneath
the lifting tackle,

and when the performer is hooking on the chains and arranging matters
generally,
pedestal,
his
as

assistant

folds

the box into the

in the

drawing.
air

The "trunk"

is

now hoisted in the At tho pistol-shot
ing cord,
desired.

and the pedestal removed.
to as

the assistant pulls the releas-

and the supposed " trunk " falls the ground; the lady appearing elsewhere

A

glance at the drawings will explain matters

easily,

and

if

made
It
is

as

shown with a

lever inside

the box to keep
inspection.

it rigid, it will

stand even a close

from wellwarps it will not work nicely, and care must be taken in placing on all hinges neatly and well, especially on the lid
best constructed
it

seasoned wood, as

if

of the trunk.

When
it

all

the woodwork of the

trunk

can be covered with canvas It can also be decorated and and painted. bound with brass, taking care that the ornamentation does not interfere with its folding. This illusion can also be made in such a way that the trunk will appear on the pedestal again under cover of an erected canopy. The device can also be used in conjunction with a great many
is

complete,

other illusions.

20

STAGE ILLUSIONS

The Golden Fly
la
this illusory effect a lady, attired in gold
is

and

suddenly endowed with power to fly, and is seen first to rise from the ground, then to dart through the air from one side of the stage to the other; finally she rises almost out of sight and
with golden wings,
floats in

mid- air, twisting and turning freely about and lazily flapping her wings and slowly floating from one side of the stage to the other. The accompanying illustration should make clear
Concealed in the
pulleys
flies is

the working of this very effective illusion.

upon one side and one upon the opposite side which are numbered in diagram 1, 2, The wire running over 1, 2, and 3, 4, respectively. 4 is one endless wire connected down at the wings
thriee

a system of wires and

tion of the wire

with the small windlass. Upon the lowermost porthat which runs from 2 4 is sus-

pended a double pulley, over the runs an almost invisible wire lady at its free end; the other with the pulley 3, and thence
windlass beside the small

lower pulley of which

connected with the

end being connected

down

to the larger
to.

one before referred

The action of
is

as follows:

this complicated-looking

arrangement

By turning the smaller windlass the lady is moved along from side to side of the stage between pulleys
and 4. To enable her to be so moved, she is first raised up from the ground by means of the wire attached
2 to the larger windlass.

In this condition the lady is a dead weight upon the upper endless wire, and as it is caused to travel

STAVE ILLUSIONS
feack

21

and forth from 2—4, it must, perforce, tarry its burden with it. By working both windlasses at once the lady is and made to rise and to cross the stage at a bound,

22
a reverse

STAGE ILLUSIONS

allows of her barely tipping the ground at the reverse side of the stage before the

movement

mechanism picks her up and skims her through the air back to her former place, etc., etc.
It seems hardly necessary to state that the strain
is borne by a steel corset worn upon the lady, and not by the lady's body

of the foregoing evolutions

itself.

The Flower
This
is

Girl
fitted

a really practical and inexpensive illusion,

which may be used upon the stage, or may be up as a side show equally well.

FRONT

VIEW.

STASE ILLTJSIONB

23

In
table.

effect a

bowl of flowers
is

is

seen upon a glass top
it; yet,

The

table can be really seen through, and no

curtain or mirror

used beneath

suddenly

from amidst the flowers are seen a lady's head and shoulders emerging from the bowl or basket. The lady is alive and will answer questions, sing, and do anything else of a reasonable nature to
demonstrate the
fact.

Singing
again.

still

she slowly disappears into the basket

The

voice

grows

fainter,

and

finally

dies

away

entirely.

This mysterious lady is reposing really upon a like the lady herself, is covered with black velvet all but the lady's head and bust, that

board which,

is,

these being concealed behind a black velvet cloth hanging upon two threads running upon two pulleys

overhead.

This cloth

is

weighted at the bottom to

keep

it flat.

24

STAGE ILLUSIONS

velvet, it only requires the velvet cloth to

with black be properly manipulated by an assistant to create a most startling

As the whole cabinet

is

draped

also

illusion.

The

illustrations
is

should make

all

the construc-

tion that

necessary plain and easy to comprehend.

The Vanishing Lady
Two
The Effect
of
:

Versions.
stage, in full light,
is

—Upon the

a table

most ordinary and unsuspicious character.

In

appearance

it is

more

like a chess-table

from the

ordinary sitting-room than a stage accessory. A few introductory words, and the performer

STAGE ILLUSIONS
begs to introduce to his audience the lady
to

25

who

is

form the victim of his experiment. She mounts upon the table, stands erect, and allows the performer to mount behind her, and
which
is

to cover her with a drapery, the unpreparedness
of so obvious as to

make comment un-

necessary.

26
ejaculation,

STAGE ILLUSIONS
thus providing "in once" catchy " ad " for the hoardings and an
finale to the illusion.

both a
effective

The Explanation:
all is

—Examination
seems.

of illustration

No.

2

provides us with the information that, once again,

not as

it

Alas

!

in

its

very innocent

homeliness
the table front of
to
is

lies

the deception of the table
of the table,

—for

in

concealed the whole of the mechanism.

In the centre
it,

and a

little to
is

the

is

a well, the top of which

covered

match the pattern of the table top. This round is supported upon what is known to most conjurors as a "lazy-tongs" or "scissors," i.e.: a sort of " trellis work " which may be compressed into a few inches, but upon its ends being pressed together " scissor " fashion, opens out into as
piece

many
the

feet.

Attached to the round top are
oif

tffo

pieces to represent shoulders, which fold against

" neck " "well."

the

dummy when

in

the

The

illustration accurately shows
is

how one

of the

innocent-looking chess squares

responsible for

the uprising of this
of
its

dummy
This
is

hiding-plaoe.
of
;

" woman " from out put into action from

the cover

the drapery by the heel of per-

former's shoe

and

it is

under the same cover that

the genuine lady escapes, via a bridge pushed out

from an opening in the back scene. It is evident that by the time the performer has

way into Under
is

the lady (?) draped, she the gallery.
reversed,

is

already making, her

cover of the pistol-shot, the mechanism

and the " bogie " drops of

its

own

!

STAGE ILLUSIONS
*ceord into
its

27
is-

place,

and the public

-Bold

again

There have been "Vanishing Lady" illusions by the score, but this is the only one of its kind, and conjurors should note that this is the only correct explanation, which may come as a shock of surprise to many who have read and very

Fig.

3.

^bought the "secret and drawings" at a high price, written by one who never knew it to start with A clever but vastly inferior method is that

often

shown
In

in illustration

No.

3.
is

round, and is supupon only one centre leg, which certainly ported is not big enough to allow of the lady passing down it.
this case the table

28

STAGE ILLUSIONS
All the same, that
is just exactly what she The leg of the table is not so innocent it looks, by a long way. It is so made that expands in a backward direction, leaving the

does do.
as
it

appearance unaltered from the front. Down the "well" thus made the lady lowers herself (feet foremost) with the assistance of willing hands

from "below stage."

An
In
ance,

Improved Vanishing Lady
" Vanishing Lady "
with
illusion

this version of the
is

the lady

seated in a chair of very ordinary appearis

and

covered

an

unprepared

cloth.

STAGE ILLUSIONS

29
(although

On
the

tli«

cloth
is

being
seen

suddenly
<up

removed
last

form

to

the

second)

the

ladj

vanishes!

It

vrill

be seen

bj

illustratiena

that the lady vanishes through a trap, her shape

30

STAGE ILLUSIONS

apparently being seen through the shawl. Immediately cloth is thrown over lady, she pulls both rods out of the seat of chair exactly the same length as
her knees (E), the shape of head
is

manipulated by
cloth.

a lever at the back of chair (C), this being done by

the performer as he covers the lady with the

During the performer's patter the lady makes her escape by releasing catch under seat of chair (F),
just before she drops through trap in platform (H), the seat is pushed back, holding itself in position by

a mechanical catch.

When

chair empty, he pulls cord (E

performer wishes to show E) towards him, works

the lever (B) with his foot, and at the same time pulls the cloth off chair with both hands in one
clean sweep.
I

am

indebted to Gustavo Fasola for this

illusion.

A

Furnished Dra'wing-Roooa and

Lady produced from Nowhere
cabinet is shown free of all preparation The demonstrator then draws the curtains and keeps his audience amused until " all right" is signalled, when he pulls back the front curtains and reveals a fully furnished drawing room with a lady seated at a piano playing a dreamy waltz (by proxy,
(Fig. 1).
off).

An empty

Fig. 2.

Of course any interior could be worked to suit the taste and pocket of the showman. It is obvious that here is a case where "money talks"; a large and convincing interior would take little more time to materialise than a small and inferior one, with far

STAGE ILLUSIONS
greater success.

31

In any case the furniture should not be too redolent of paint and canvas.

As

will

be assumed by

many

readers the whole of

the properties are

collapsible.

The

chairs,

floor,

lamp, fender, rugs, clock, etc., fold neatly up and are packed away in the recess A (see Fig. 3). The couch seat folds down as also shown in Fig.
3,

and

thus closes hole

A

in platform.

The back

of the

couch, fireplace, pictures, mirrors, etc.,

are merely

painted on the walls.

The
walls.

floor

is

clear

now

for the fixtures
is

and the
is

On

the right hand aide

a piano, which
of.

the most
as

difficult

property to dispose

It folds

up

shown

in Fig. 4

and

lies flat

against th« wall.

On

32

STAGE ILLUSIONS

the left-hand side the mantel-board does the same
thing.

Each wall, including the back one, is divided and hinged in the middle and at the top under the

Ltqs o( rioor Um(3

Jtath

0}

flam

mlla^
are fiairtw otw

jAou/m Hmqts

utiicn

oormico (see Fig. 4).
ceiling,

They

are

swung up

into

tibe

carrying with them the collapsible

Ig^KLtero,

birdcages, or whatever hangs from the roof; turn-

STAGE ILLUSIONS

33

buckles hold walls in position. When everything is completely stowed away, the cabinet appears as in Fig. 1.
If all hinges are of the spring order, considerable

saved in preparing scene. presenting the illusion, the performer gets an assistant inside the cabinet, after the curtains are
is

time

On

drawn, by any convenient method, and he proceeds
to set the scene.

As he leaves at the back, a lady enters, and the back wall is tl^en dropped, and front curtain raised,
disclosing interior similar to Fig. 2.

The number

of pieces of furniture used are sub-

ject only to the ingenuity of the designer in dispos-

ing of them either in the platform or roof.

An

Oriental Dish

Performer brings forward a large piece of linoleum or some similar stifE material, and fastening the two ends together, forms a sort of oval shape, which he shows entirely empty. He then places a cover over it as seen in the drawing, and brings forward a bent bamboo pole. By means of light tapes he fastens the shape to the pole and raises the whole structure in the air. He then inserts the pole in a hole in the floor, the shape being suspended from it. After some by-play and pantomime the shape is lowered to the ground again, the pole disconnected, and the shape opened, when it is seen to contain a large dish with an imitation pie, and on the crust being broken open an Oriental lady makes her appearance. As will be seen, when the performer is tying the
tapes on to the shape, etc., a large pie
is

sent

up the

c

34

STAGE rLLTJSIONS

STAGE ILLUSIONS
trap,

35

and when the performer
flies,

is

fastening the tapes

he also fastens a

fine steel wire in

the top of the pie.
it is

This wire passes into the
supports the weight
ingly
light

and
being

this which"

when performer
the wire

lifts

the seem-

shape,

hauled

up

as

required.

The

rest of the illusion will
it is

now be

easily

understood; properly worked

most

effective.

The Rapid Transit
A
I don't

BuBLESQUE Illusion.
this illusion
;

know who invented

in justice

to myself, however, I

may
much

state here that

/ didn't,

which

is

a matter of

rejoicing to us.

36

STAGE ILLUSIONS

Two wooden screens, covered with paper, are hung upon opposite sides of the stage upon a wire. A stool is put beneath each screen, and performer takes his stand upon one, and at a pistol-shot (must have a pistol-shot or you can't do it; some people
can't do
it

even then!) he travels from one
seen of him.

side of

the stage to the other, at least his arms do, for that's
all

that

is

Then

in a flash be

is

back

again upon his stool.
Inspection of the accompanying illustration will show that the screen has a pair of arms of its own, worked by a string. At pistol-shot the assistant pulls the string, causing the dummy arms to shoot out upon either side, and the performer stays where

he

is

until it

is

time to get down again.

Phantom Decapitation
In
this

weird illusion a skeleton, and the performer
it,

who

is

exhibiting

change heads in a bewildering

and uncanny manner.
This effect properly belongs to the " Black Art" show, but can very well be worked as a separate
illusion.

The skeleton (A) is really a man in black velvet It tights, and with a skeleton painted on the front.
is

only possible against the surrounding dense black-

ness of the velvet-lined cabinet to see the outline of

the skeleton, the form of the
lost.

man

being completely

The head

is

made up

to resemble closely the per-

former's head, but in front of it hangs a velvet cloth on a wire frame with an enamelled metal skull (B)

attached to

its centre.

STAGE ILLUSIONS

37

A

duplicate of this arrangement

diately above the performer,
in contrary directions
as

is hanging immeand both are operated

by a concealed

assistant as soon

he gets his " cue " by hearing the report of the

performer's pistol.

The
ton's

result is
is

an exchange
into

of heads.
flies

head

drawn

the

The skeleand duplicate

lowered just in front of performer's face. Obviously this can be, and must be, repeated before the performer can move from the cabinet.

Two SacR
Effect:

Tricks

Performer brings forward a large sack. After being examined by committee from audience the performer is ti«d and sealed up in same in the usual manner. Sack is then placed behind screen or in a cabinet; a few seconds later performer

steps out on the stage with the sack on his
still

arm

tied

and

sealed.

The committee, on examining

38

STAGE ILLUSIONS
the sack, fail to find by

what means performer

made

his escape.

Explanation:
than 5
ft.

—The sack
in width

is

made from

a large piece
less

of black canvas or other strong material, not

for plenty of

hem

is

itiade

and 6 ft. in length, to allow room to work in. First, a narrow round both sides and bottom, into

which are inserted at intervals of about an inch

Fig.

1.

Fig.

2.

or so brass eyelets same as those used for lace-up
boots.

At

the top ledge

make

a

hem about

f of

an inch in width, leaving an opening about ^ an inch wide at the ends, for a reason to be explained
later
(see

Fig.

1).

until the sides meet.

Now fold the canvas over Now take two long pieces of

strong black cord; starting from the bottom corner (middle of material), lace round bottom and
side, crossing the cords like lacing a boot; from within 4 ft. of top hem the lacing must be unbroken, that is, done with the same two pieces of

STAGE ILLUSIONS
oord-T-no joinings.
top,

39

After reaching the hem at the do not cut the cords off short, but leave about 3 ft. more of each than required for the lacing, tie a knot at the ends, and push surplus portions with a pencil into the hem at the top.

To represent the
it,

finish of the lacing

put an extra
in,

short piece at the top with a few knots tied

sealed up you pull from the top, thus pulling in the surplus portions from hem, you will find that you will be able to make an opening large enough to get out between the lacings after getting out, you draw the cords taut, straighten the sides of sack, tie a few knots in cords at top of sack, cut off the surplus portion, and walk to committee, who can examine sack as much as they please, without discovering the secret (see Fig. 2). in the lacings about 3
ft.
;

making it look as genuine escape from the sack after it is

as

possible.

To

In the second version of the trick the performer hands the audience a large canvas sack for thorough examination, also a solid steel bar with two sockets and rings, these being secured by solid bolts. After the most exhaustive examination, he is placed inside, then secured by passing the bolt through the holes

The ends are provided in the mouth of the sack. then securely bolted on and sealed, the seals being marked to prove that no one may tamper with them. A small screen is now placed around the performer,
and, after a few seconds have elapsed, he steps around from the screen perfectly free, the sack being found
intact with the steel bolt
seals
lies
still

in position

and the
bear the

unbroken.
in the
bolifc,

The

secret of this remarkable trick

which,

although

it

will

40
closest scrutiny,

STAGE ILLUSIONS
is

really cut in halves,

the right-

handed thread being cut upon a short bolt projecting from the end of one half fitting inside the other. This is clearly shown in the illustration. When handing the bolt to the audience, do not leave the ends on, as these act as levers, and a side twist is sufficient
to expose the trick in the bolt. All the performer

has to do
rings,

is to reach up until his hands hold the which are twisted until bolt opens, and the
oflF

sack drops

the steel bar.

The bolt is then replaced and very tightly screwed up, when the sack presents the same appearance as before. The rings may, of course, be substituted by
borrowed padlocks, which are locked on, the keys
being retained by the audience, making the trick even better, as the performer should do his best to divert

STAGE ILLUSIONS

41

"""""

"'"iriinwniiiiimiiiwujiimiii

the attention from the steel bolt as

much

as possible

by using such precautions against escape as will tend to lead them to imagine that the trick lies in the method
of securing the sack.

Cremation Illusions
By Peeshad
Singh.

What magician is there who, having read the Cave Scene from Rider Haggard's " She," where Ayesha bathes in the Fire of Life, does not think of the tremendous possibilities of this wonderful descripAnd yet, tion from the magical point of view? matter from every standwhen he has considered the point, he reluctantly decides that such an efEect would

42

STAGE ILLUSIONS
little use,

be of

unless worked in conjunction with a

magical play of some sort.

The

effect

can be pro-

duced, however (" Magician Annual," 1908-9, page
70),

amateur.

but the apparatus required is too bulky for the This idea, however, immediately gives

one of the first of which to appear on the stage was " She at the Stake," usually worked by
rise to others,

means

of the

for the

now famous mirror table used by Stodare " Sphinx," or as explained by Will Goldston

("Tricks and Illusions," page 98). The drawback most illusions of this type, from the amateur point of view, is either that the apparatus required is too
to

costly

and cumbersome, or that they
is

necessitate the

use of a stage trap, which
sible

usually quite an imposillusion

accessory.

The
is

following
it

has

two

advantages.
at

It

cheap and

can easily be made

home

;

it will

be found quite suitable for amateur

entertainments, for which purpose the original was
constructed.

The

effect is as follows:
1),

—A

platform

is

seen on

the stage (Fig.

consisting of a light collapsible

framework
rests

B

(fastened together with hinges, so as to

fold for convenience in stowage),

upon B without being
is

fixed to it in

and a top A, which any way. At
the top with

the back of this
this curtain

a large post

C

fitted at

a curtain rod and curtain (of cashmere) as shown;

can be lowered as far as the table top, by E acting through the cords F F F, to each of which it is secured. After the performer has removed the table top with the help of an assistant, and shown that there are no traps in it, he crouches behind the table to show that the direct view underneath is not interrupted in any way. A girl,

means

of the cord

STAGE ILLUSIONS

43

with her arms bound to her sides, is now brought on from the wings, and lashed with ropes to the post C.

B£fO«t

WETKIATIOW

AMD

AFTER «

Pii'

Assistants

now bring
round

in four bundles of faggots, which

are piled

her, producing the effect

the illustration, " Before Cremation."

shown in The curtain

44

STAGE ILLUSIONS
is

lowered, and a brazier brought on to the which the performer chants incantations and then lights the torch, which he thrusts under the canopy a blaze of fire immediately starts inside, coupled with agonised shrieks from the victim. This
stage, over
;

FFF

now

part of the illusion gives great scope for acting on the
it be desired, the can be considerably increased by lighting red fire in the wings, and weird band music, such as that of the Mephistopheles Scene from " Faust," These sounds

part of the performer, and, should

effect

gradually die away, until, amidst dead silence, the

canopy

is

raised,

revealing the effect as in illustra-

tion— " And After."
There are two distinct methods which can be employed for working this illusion; one is that in which the girl escapes via a trap in the back scene, and a plank from that to the table, handing out the faggots to the assistant behind the scene. The other method, which is perhaps the more artistic, is to have a black background, and a black roller-blind fitted to the back of the table (see Fig. 6), this blind being pulled down by means of a pull from the wings, under
cover
faggots
of

the

assistants'

bodies'

while placing
the

the

in

position,

and

after

performer has

walked round the table; having seen the performer's person through the space below the table, the audience will naturally conclude that this space is open during
the whole experiment.
used, the girl simply gets
of the blind being the table on to the stage taking the faggots with her. The fire is
off

In the case

fire primed with a small quantity of meal gunpowder, and contained in the dish shown in Fig. 4, which is fitted with a reflector to prevent the full

behind it, ordinary red

glare of the

fire

being noticeable to the audience;

STAGE ILLUSIONS
this dish of fire is placed

45

on the table with the last bundle of faggots. The rope with which the girl's arms appear to be bound to her sides, when she first comes upon the stage, is in reality a belt with two
loops for the

arms formed of rope sewn together and fastened with hooks at the back, under what appear to be the knots securing the rope. The ropes with
which the
girl is

bound

to the post have one

end

securely nailed thereto at the back (H, Fig. 2), and the other end (J, Fig. 2) merely secured with thread,

the appearance from the audience being that these

two pieces are one continuous piece passing round the post, and tied by the performer in front of the girl. I used four of these. To release herself the girl simply leans forward, breaking the thread J, and each rope falls behind the
post, out of sight of the audience, into the position

It will be seen that the post
affair,

is

in reality a " built-up

K. "

The trap

used as a receptacle for the ashes (Fig. 3). L releasing the ashes is operated by the

performer by pulling
ashes

G

(I"ig-

1),

which
(Fig.

is

a direct

The and "spring ball" skull (weighted with shot) thus fall out of the " shoot " D (Fig. 1) on to the blazing fire, smothering it, and causing the effective smoking appearance shown in the second illustration. To ensure safety the curtain should be fire-proofed. The torch can be conveniently made by fastening a Colgate's shaving-stick tin (see Fig. 5) on to a wooden rod, T, and wrapping the whole with brown paper, to give the appearance of wood; the
connection to the release catch
3).

M

tin

is

then

filled

with cotton wool saturated in turps

and kept in position by means of two cross-wires ; the lid For anyone will be found to be a useful extinguisher.

46

STAGE ILLUSIONS

not possessing a black background, the blind may be covered with newspaper, and the floor and back wall
covered

with

a

large

sheet,

together a lot of newspapers.

formed by sticking Great stress should then

be laid on the impossibility of using traps under these conditions ; needless to say, the newspaper-covered
blind against a newspaper background
is

used in the

same way as the black blind and background. A further improvement might be made by fitting a spring blind at R, of red and yellow painted material (gauze), and use a gauzy canopy under these conditions, with this blind kept in rapid motion by a wire from above to represent flame, etc., and the flickering of the actual fire, the effect would be absolutely realistic, which is far from the case with the
;

majority of cremation illusions.

PART

II.

Miscellaneous Illusions

48

STAGE ILLUSIONS

Two Tubs
A metal tub, after shown to be empty, is placed on an unprepared stool. Several buckets containing water are brought forward and emptied into the

tub

;

at the report of a pistol several ducks are seen
filling

completely

the tub.

It will be seen in the diagram that the ducks are

concealed behind a flap.

The

birds,

on being released,
so help the effect.

make

for the top of the tub,

and

In the second version of the illusion the conjuror shows an empty tub, then places it on a stool, uncovered,

and

in full view of the audience.

At

the

STAGE ILLUSIONS

49

50

STAGE ILLUSIONS

report of a pistol the performer produces an endless
variety of flags, cages, and live stock.
stool is fitted with a sliding pan (see illustrawhich holds the entire load. A release lever is fitted on to the outside of one of the legs. When the performer wishes to produce the load, he touches the lever with his toe immediatelv the

The

tion),

;

sliding

pan

rises, striking

the star trap at top of stool,

tearing the paper in bottom of tub

—and

there you

The

Spirit

Blackboard

A blackboard, after being thoroughly cleaned, is turned around to prove absence of trickery. The performer covers the centre of blackboard with an unprepared cardboard square, this being held firm against the centre of board by means of a long, thin piece of wood, which fits into the frame of the
blackboard.

The name
is

of a selected card or answer to

seen written on the centre of board

board screen is removed. answers can appear written with great rapidity. On examination of the figures, all will be quite

a sum when the cardQuite a number of

The back centre of board opens on a hinge, the front being covered by the cardboard screen. Assistant pushes bridge through back opening in scene, and writes the answer, closes
simple to the reader.
the centre, and waits for the next question to be
written.

When performing this illusion, care should be taken not to bring the blackboard too near to the
front of stage.

STAGE ILLUSIONS

51

52

STAGE ILLUSIONS

The Growth

of

Flowers

Four Versions.
I suppose everyone has listened with more or less belief to the travellers' tale of that marvellous yogi

(some are irreverent enough to suggest that bogie would be more appropriate!) who, after planting an
infinitesimal seed

in the ground,
in succession
!)

produces in suc-

plant growths of various sizes until quite a respectable tree is grown, which, having regard to the voluminous folds and
draperies of an " Eastern Mystic " and other small considerations, probably isn't as wonderful as it

cession (very

much

sounds
is

—or

as truthful either for that matter.

a

more

startling effect,

Here under seemingly impossible
is

conditions.

An

ordinary flower-pot

shown half

filled

with

mould, some seed is planted and copiously watered; then, to engender a little warmth, a borrowed handkerchief is thrown over the top. Almost immediately the handkerchief is seen to move upwards, and in a very short time a complete plant is grown standing some twelve inches high and covered with leaves and flowers. This whilst performer is amongst audience, and without any assistance whatever. Gentle reader, have you ever seen an acetylene cycle lamp ? Yes? Well, there then is your embryo "plant." And to make it you need but to bear in mind the principles and behaviour of the lamp, and to follow faithfully these ensuing directions, when you will possess an illusion which is otherwise unobtainable, and which surpasses in ingenuity the most complicated mechanism I ever was introduced to, which last is saying a good deal.

STAGE ILLUSIONS

53
stout drawing

Upon

a flat board pin

down with

pins two sheets of thin indiarubber 15 in.

by 8

in.

(which must be absolutely faultless) one upon the other. Now, with a sharp knife, cut out the shape of a tree or plant with spreading branches. The root

must be not more than 1^ to If in. in width the remainder must, of course, be in proportion, or
or trunk

your "plant" will bring you more ridicule than
applause,

by a long way.

to the extent of J in. all round outline of "tree," when completely cut out, spread bicycle

Now

rubber solution, leaving the mouth of the "root"
untouched. Having done so and adjusted your two rubber " trees " exactly (wait till solution is " tacky,"
or it won't stick well), rub

and press them firmly upon
" root "
is

each other and leave under pressure until perfectly
secured.

Into the

open

inserted

per-

manently a small box of brass working
in the top half of the affair
i.e.,

upon a hinge;

that inserted in the

"neck"

The lower half is a ^ in. hole is cut. with as many small holes as you can get into drilled it, without destroying it entirely.

To operate this affair you cover and paint the trunk, limbs, etc., with leaves, and small artificial
flowers, and,

when

dry, turn in

all

branches to centre,

and then fold the whole in " pleats " as neatly as you are able from top downwards to within 2 in. of the box or " receiver," then tie with thin thread into a Place a lump of compact parcel (not too tight). calcium-carbide within the "receiver," close same securely, and place the complete arrangement on a " servante, or in pocket, etc. (according to your " pet

method

of loading).

54

STAGE ILLUSIONS

i^

STAGE ILLUSIONS

55

In filling plant pot with mould, the load -which haa been secretly got into the pot is brought to the top, and the root and hox buried beneath the soil; the "plant" itself is merely sufficiently covered to
pass muster at a short distance away.
,'

Now

it

is

evident that as soon

as

the water penetrates the

mould and reaches the carbide, gas commences to by the most open route, which is in this case via the J in. hole in top of receiver, and thence into the plant itself, spreading it out and erecting it into a full blown
generate, which naturally escapes
tree.

Any

surplus gas will

make

its

way out through

the mould, which acts as a safety-valve, thus obviating the least danger.

This novel and interesting application of acetylene
gas
is

most ingenious, and suggests experiments in

other directions.

In "Latest Conjuring" was given the secret, illustrations, of the " Growth of Flowers." The pot is filled with earth, in which seeds are planted, and is then placed upon a glass-topped table, The supported only upon a slender nickel pillar. firing of a pistol-shot causes an instantaneous growth of flowers in full view of the spectators, no covering
with
being

made
will

use of at

all.

be remembered, this was effected by using a bouquet of expanding feather flowers, concealed in the pillar of the table which is really much larger

As

than

it

appears at a

little

distance.
pillar

The bouquet was forced up the
of a concealed spring

a conical tube fixed within the flower-pot

worked by a

lever,

and through by means and released

56

STAGE ILLUSIONS
of pressing it

by the simple action
foot.

down with

the

The flowers were made to " jam " into the conical tube by a cone-shaped plug, which the tension of the spring forced into the bottom of the flower-pot, the

cone-shaped tube causing

it

to

wedge

itself firmly in,

and

so allow of the pot's

removal from the table.
three

In the
colours

latest

version

plants of

different

may

be produced, one after another, upon

the same table.

STAGE ILLUSIONS
This
is

57

accomplished by means of an ingenious
flower-pots

application of the foregoing.

Three
flowers.

are

used,

each

prepared

as

described previously, and also three plants of feather

But each plant
lever.

is

contained in a separate
its

tube, having a separate spring of

own, and worked

by a separate

The three

levers are disposed at

equal distances from each other, and project from They can therefore be worked the rear table leg.
quite independently of each other.

The whole

of

the three small tubes with their

separate mechanisms are concealed by the outer tube
of the pedestal.

The

illustration will convey

an exact idea

of all

the working parts of this excellent improvement. further improvement is the substitution of a

A

thin plate of nickel silver in the place of the fragile and troublesome plate glass top, always so liable to

damage.

The new table is only one-eighth of an inch in thickness, and is therefore quite as effective as the
transparent top, and,
if

anything,

still

handsomer.

58

STAGE ILLUSIONS

A

gilded table

is

seen on the stage, placed some-

what near the back cloth, and performer brings for^ward a wooden pot and a bag of earth. He invites a

member

of the audience to
it

fill

the pot with earth,

Performer then on the table. proceeds to fan the pot, after he has placed in some seeds, and to the accompaniment of slow music a

and then places

STAGE ILLUSIONS

59

magnificent tree is seen to appear gradually covered with real flowers and leaves. When it has fully

grown performer cuts off the flowers and presents them to the audience. The secret of this trick depends on the old principle
of Black Art, and, as will be seen in the illustration, the table has three legs. Between the front leg and

the two back legs is stretched some velvet to match the back cloth, which hides a round tube with a
lift

arrangement operated by a string or clockwork.
flowers are inserted in this tube, and, of course,

The

required. The pot is really a double one, or rather one with an outer shell; this shell has no bottom, and when the performer passes near the
rise as

servante of another table or chair he allows the solid pot containing the earth to slide out, consequently it is only the shell he places on the table, which will
allow of the tree to pass right through.
hole which
is

To mask the

necessary in the top of the table, and

which would be noticed by the audience, the performer places an open fan over the hole until it is
covered by the shell.

the except that the cone is exhibited empty and given for examination before and after
effect of this version is exactly similar to

The

Eellar growth,

the trick, and that three full-sized plants are pro-

duced.

you require an ordinary flower used in the sudden growth in a brass vase ; this stands to the front of the stage, and the feather flowers must be designed to represent exactly iris or daffodils, a very easy matter in good hands.
In the
first

place,

table, such as is

The other

tables stand back

and have large covers

on,

60

STAGE ILLUSIONS

but the servantes consist of a screw clip and bent arm, as shown in the diagrams; to these are suspended by means of a brass chain and loop the two plants to be produced. Exhibit the cone, and place the brass flower-pot on the trick table in its correct position for producing the plant, and cover with the cone, at the same time pressing the lever, which

causes the flower to appear.

The

cone, plant, and

cover are

now

carried to the rear table, and a brass

vase placed on the
filled

now empty
all is

flower table; this

is

with sand and

ready.

The performer lifts the cone revealing the plant, and in the act of lowering the cone it is allowed to
drop over the concealed flowers, the style of flower
used allowing them to go
easily
inside,

the fore-

STAGE ILLUSIONS
finger slips into the ring

61

and

lifts

diately passing to the second table

the plant, immeand producing the

flowers,

the third being obtained

while

exhibiting

the second in exactly the
is

same way

as before.

This

carried forward

and produced on the

first table.

Sham
The performer's

Spiritualism
Curtain
is

wrists are securely fastened to un-

prepared posts, with borrowed padlocks.

lowered bo that the head and legs of the conjurer are Instruments, which distinctly seen by the audience.
to play
thfl

have previously been placed on the stool, are heard and are seen over top of curtain ; as a climax
performer's coat
falls
is

and
is

on

to the stage.

thrown over top of curtain, Immediately the curtain
is

raised,

when the conjuror

seen to be securely
>

fastened to the posts.

The method

of working this effective illusion

may

62

STAGE ILLUSIONS
little

appear to our readers to be a
presented by a good
of

barefaced.
is

If

showman

there

every chance

making more of this than an ordinary illusion. The boy assistant, concealed on the shelf, which slides

up and down with the
performer's
illustrations

curtain, does the work.

The
in

coat

sleeves

have

patent

fasteners

place of the seams, specially fitted to release coat.

See

showing working parts of apparatus.

STAGE ILLUSIONS

63

The Drum which
The performer
metal,
either
also

can't be Beaten
collar of
fit

exhibits a broad band or two nickel-plated rings, which

over

end indifferently.
covering the large band with a sheet of news-

Now
ing
it

paper, he presses

down the metal ring upon

it,

secur-

then turns over the " drum " and proceeds to treat the opposite end in a like manner, thus creating a kind of " drum " innocent of all deception and without raising the faintest susin its place.

He

picion.

The " drum "

is

now hung

accompanying illustration within the circular metal stand, which composes part of the apparatus for working the trick in this method. Finding, however, that little music is to be extracted from his drum even now that he has made it the performer puts the end of his wand completely through the paper, and commences to drag from the drum several coloured silk handkerchiefs, which he lays down upon the small table attached to the stand. Picking up several of these in his hand, the conjuror multiplies them into many more, which suddenly develop a quantity of lovely flowers amongst their folds. As the supply increases, these overflow and fall into a sort of umbrella shape stand of gauzy material, which is fixed below the small table to receive them. Next, twenty-five more silk handkerchiefs are drawn from the " drum," from the midst

as

shown

in

the

of which a still larger quantity of flowers is produced, making, together with the former production, quite a tremendous displayj completely filling the

sunshade.

64

STAGE ILLUSIONS

These are quickly followed by a large quantity of "Flags of all Nations," whicli, in turn, are followed by an enormous display of paper ribbon, whicb the performer extracts by means of his wand and twirls out of the " drum " in endless profusion upon the
floor.

The supply being at
together
servante.
table, half

last quite exhausted, it

is,

with the handkerchiefs,

placed

upon the

upon

it,

and half dropping down into the
is

One
a shake,

of the large flags

now taken up and

given

when out

fliea

a live duck!

Another flag is shaken and a large rabbit puts in an appearance, which, upon performer pulling its ears, develops into two rabbits; and upon

STAGE ILLUSIONS
a third flag being shaken out
flies

65

another duck to keep
to clear

No.

1

company.

The performer now goes

away the ribbon from table, when, suddenly dropping same, he is seen by audience to be holding a large 6 ft. nickel flagstaff upon which is mounted a huge Union Jack. And waving this trophy to an obliging " Eule Britannia! " from the orchestra, he makes an
effectual exit.

The Woeking:
(1)

—The

apparatus

required

really fine illusion is as follows:

for

this

The " drum," consisting of a centre band of and two flat nickel rings, to fit upon either end of " drum," the band being 9 in. in diameter and 7 in. deep. The two others are 9 in. by about
nickel

2 in. deep.

parts of the
fit

The accompanying illustration shows clearly the " drum " and the manner in which they

one into the other.
(2) The fake for loading into the " drum," which made of tin and is practically an inner "drum,"

is

having two lids each and a circle cut out about 3 in. diameter in the centre. One lid is painted or covered black, to match the table top, the other is
covered with the same paper as
is

" drum " with.

The

size of this

used to make the inner " drum " just

allows of its easy insertion into the

you show to audience.

This inner "

drum which drum " is loaded
'

'

'

'

with all the articles to be produced, and finally a square of black paper should be placed upon the last handkerchiefs put in so as to prevent them showing
or coming into unwelcome prominence. This is a special table (3) The loading table.

used to load the inner fake into the "

drum "

proper.

E

66

STAGE ILLUSIONS

It measures 11 in. in diameter

This extra depth
table,

is

relieved

which
is

is

arranged to

by about 9 in. deep. by the trimming of the hide it. In construction
is

the table

very simple.

It

really a hollow ring
fits,

and the sides of the " ring " are capable of moving up or down, so aa
to leave the fake exposed, simply resting

into which the fake "

drum "

upon the

bottom of the table, or to hide

it

completely, in

TNI
WKkl. TAIkLC

I

which case the black side of the " drum " being uppermost it is easily mistaken for the table top, as it is exactly flush with the edge when in position. KTow having prepared the fake " drum " and put it
black side upmost upon the table and drawn the sides up to hide it, we may commence to show.

A

large piece of newspaper

is

pressed upon one
in that position

side of the

" drum

''

and secured

by

STAGE ILLUSIONS

67

one of the nickel bands. Having shown the " drum " empty, place it open side up on table so that loose paper will conceal the downward motion of the sides of the table. When placing a second sheet of paper

upon the " drum " and securing with band No. 2, pressure is applied upon the " drum," with the result that the sides of the table sink down, and the
" driim," cutting completely through the paper upon " drum " proper, enters into it unknown to anyone. Now, owing to one side of the lake being also covered with paper, the whole may be shown to the spectators, each side, once more. As both the older methods of producing the
inner
various

laying

"loads" from the "drum," i.e., that of down upon the table simply or of hanging
across

upon chains or cords
table

the stage,

have great

disadvantages, a description of the combined stand,

fessionals
trick.

and servante may be of service to those proand amateurs who wish to specialise in this
is

The stand
of in

in

five

small parts,
a

and

consists

a

foundation

supporting

gauze

sunshade

mauve and silver and supporting a small table also mauve and 'silver, with name or initials embroidered in silver upon the ground, which in turn
in

drum.

supports a rod holding a large ring to support the The whole has an exceedingly pretty and

elaborate effect,

and

it is

quickly built and unbuilt.

Two hundred

flowers in

two packets

of 100 each

are secured each in a handkerchief, which, with two .other handkerchiefs for "cover," should be placed

Upon picking up the on either side of the table. " silks " just produced, these are also picked up with them, and whilst the flowers are developing a few

68

STAGE ILLUSIONS
fall,

handkerchiefs are allowed to
effect of

so

as to give the

multiplying (?). The remaining flowers are then allowed to overflow into the sunshade servante.

A
BO

peculiar

feature of the table

is

that
fall

it

is

not
the

central but considerably to one side of the servante,

that articles from the
also

drum

will

into

upon the rear edge are two hooks carrying the flagstaff and flag, which is lifted The ducks are in box off under cover of the papers. servantes upon the chair backs, and the rabbits likeservante below;
wise.

Novel Mirror Illusion
Performer shows a mirror in elaborate gilt frame. Seizing upon a hammer, he smashes the mirror,
genuinely cracking
it all

over.

Upon

covering

it

for

a

second

the mirror

is

miraculously restored.
will be seen that the

Referring to the accompanying section drawing, it frame is upon the old " sand-

frame " principle.

D
frame.

is

a

gully containing mercury

(quicksilver),

the normal position of

which

is

at the bottom of the

A B are two plain glasses, between which the mercury runs. C is a sheet of mirror seen clearly through A and B. The mirror is cracked and broken from the hack, (the smashed mirror appearing to occupy the frame alone, as the glasses in front of same are quite
invisible.

Of course,
the frame
is

all that is now needed to "restore" simply to turn it round, when covering

STAGE ILLUSIONS
SECTION.

69

it

with a flag, etc., when a perfect duplicate is produced in front of broken mirror by the mercury running between the double glasses.

The Vanishing SKetch
Effect —Performer sketches a picture
:

or cartoon

on a sheet of white paper, with a border all round it, which is then taken off and rolled up tube shape. Now, after a few passes, the paper is unrolled, when the sketch or cartoon is seen to have
vanished.

Secret —Procure two boards,- each of which is the size of an ordinary blackboard, and a quarter of an inch thick; these are now placed together in such a way that they will have a space of half an
:

70

STAGE ILLUSIONS
inch between them; the top
front of the board has a
slit
is

left
it

open.

The
it.

in

that will allow

the small sheet of paper (B) to pass through

/

STAGE ILLUSIONS

71

The board is now painted black to give it the appearance of an ordinary blackboard, one inch
thick.

You now
board; this
the

procure a sheet of white paper, with
all

a black border painted
is

round

it,

the size of the

now placed on

the board with four
level

drawing pins, the top of the paper on a slit in the board (not over it).

with

You now

take the piece of paper (B), which has

a black border at the top only; the white part of
this slip is the exact size of the white centre of

the sheet of paper on the board, the black border
is

also the exact size of the top border

on the

paper.

The border end of this paper (B) is passed through the slit in the front of the board, and
out through the top.
to the paper

A

slip of

wood

is

now glued
dry the

and

left to

dry.

When

white end of the paper is drawn through slit down over the white centre of the paper on the board. This is now kept in position with two drawing
pins.

The paper then appears
trick
is

as sketch C.

The

worked

as

follows:

—Performer

finished, he removes the four drawing pins that hold the two sheets of paper at the bottom of the board, and also draws the ends of the sheets of paper up to the top While holding them in this position, of the board. he releases his hold on the sheet of paper with the sketch on. The moment he does this the weight of the slip of wood draws the sheet of paper through

sketches a picture or cartoon.

When

the

slit

into the space between the board.

72

STAGE ILLUSIONS

Performer now removes the two pins that hold He now removes this sheet from the board in such a way that the audience cannot see that it is a blank. It is then rolled tube
the large sheet of paper.

After a few passes the paper is opened out and shown each side, when the sketch is seen to have vanished. The blackboard is also shown back and
shape.
front.

STAGE ILLUSIONS

73

Conradi's Coin- Ladder
glass.

made of The top also is of glass, and is completed by a metal tube, shown empty, before being put on the

On

a nickel-plated stand hangs a ladder,

glass plate.

Performer, after having shown various tricks with and last, but not least, " The Miser's Dream," takes the coins from the hat preferably a borrowed one and puts this hat on top of the metal tube. A second hat also borrowed is hung between the forks, provided for this purpose, at the bottom of the ladder. Performer, or even one of the spectators, throws any desired number of coins into the hat
coins,

resting

on the tube, and these

coins at once penetrate
of the ladder,

the hat, glide
in this

down the rungs
After
all

and

fall

into the second hat.

the coins have passed

way from top

to bottom, performer shows the

top

hat—meaning

the one on the top

—empty,
" The

while

the coins can be taken from the bottom one by any-

one desirous to gratify his curiosity.
This,
as

a finishing trick to coin manipulation,
excelled,

cannot
ladder

be
is

especially
it.

if

Miser's
of the

Dream " has preceded
as follows
:

The preparation

rungs of the ladder are made of thick plate-glass, the edge being bound with metal strips, nickel-plated. The pieces of glass, however, fill their respective frames only to three-quarter their space, and this space allows the coins to glide from one rung to the other, until they reach the hat
placed at the bottom of the ladder. But how do the coins penetrate the hat? you will
ask.

—The

In

this

way:

—The

m'etal

tube,

which was

shown empty

just before starting the trick, has an

74

STAGE ILLUSIONS

inner tube, into which the coins are placed before-

hand. This inner tube is concealed by the hat which performer is using as the bottom one. After showing the larger tube empty, performer goes to the table, on which the hat stands, and with his right hand puts this tube over the inner tube (which is behind the hat and filled with the coins), and takes

up the hat with his left. These are quite natural moves, and excite no suspicion. The inner tube has a m«chanism which, when operated by means of a thread by the assistant, always allows one coin at a
time to
slip out.
is

meaning shown empty, although Two the coins were seen to be dropped into it? flags, which are placed on the right and left of the
it

But how

that the top hat

—^again

the one on top of the tube

is

stand, appear to be there only for decorating pur-

but are not quite as innocent as, no doubt, they One of them has hidden in its folds, away at the back, a cache, and this cache is put secretly into the hat, when the latter is put on top of the tube, so that any- coins, thrown apparently into the hat, When, at the are really dropped into the cache. finish, performer takes down the hat, the cache is left again behind the flag, which effectually conceals it.
poses,
look.

The Cauldron
A
in
filled

of

Macbeth
may be
is

very pretty and cheap trick

arranged
is

the following manner.

A

cauldron,

such as

usually represented in witch scenes,
in

exhibited and

with water ; three or four eggs are now dropped and the lid placed on. The fire is lighted underneath, and upon removing the lid out fly either four

STAGE ILLUSIONS

75

white pigeons or two ducks, as fancy and the
the pot dictates.

size of

secret lies in the construction of the lid, resembles the familiar dove pan, the ducks which being concealed in B or the lid proper, A, fitting

The

76
indifferently

STAGE ILLUSIONS

and secured by a small bayonet catch and
is

fitting tightly into the

once the lid

neck of the cauldron when put on, leaving the false section and

ducks behind.

A

Table from a Shawl

The effect to the public is that the performer produces from a handkerchief a small table, which is very useful for card or coin manipulations.

As

will

divided into three to fold quite

be seen from our illustration, the top is flat, the stem being

STAGE ILLUSIONS

77

hinged and fixed with a catch-bolt. The stem also slides down with its own weight, and forms a perfectly
solid and firm stand. This locks by means of two spring catches, which have to be pushed in again to close the table.

The Vanishing Lamp
The performer exhibits a pretty lamp
a tray.
alight

upon

The lamp
finish.

is first

covered with a light cloth having

a hole to allow the glass

chimney to be seen up

to the

Lifting the cloth to exhibit the brass base, the performer picks th« lighted lamp off the tray, and then it seems to melt in his hands, the covering cloth dropping to the floor. A glance at the illustration should explain the method up to a certain extent, the

lamp claiming our first attention. Everyone must have seen a small drinking cup made in aluminium, the chief merit of which is that it will close down to the depth of, say, half an inch
construction of the
or so.

The base

of the

lamp

is

constructed on an exactly

similar plan, consisting of a

number

of brass rings,

each being graduated from the base.
the rings
is

The

smallest of

placed in the centre and the other rings

around inside the largest, which has a bottom to it, and a piece of tube soldered in the centre. The centre support of the lamp is a hollow rod, fitting into the piece of tube just mentioned, and has the oil reservoir fitted loosely on the top. The light is obtained from a small wick in the reservoir, and is inside a kind of brass cage into

78

STAGE ILLUSIONS

TRAY

WELL

IM

CEMTRE

STAGE ILLUSIONS

79
is

which

fits

the glass chimney j this part

very fully

explained in the illustration.
is made in a suitable silk, edged with the shape being obtained with flexible wires fastened to the central-ring, which fits loosely over the

The shade

lace,

Mollow POiT'

RlnG5

^COLLftPiE.
Plug for

PILLBR TO FFT m

glass tube.

These are connected by light cords from
oil

the ends of the wires to the

reservoir itself,

a

strong ring being soldered to the pointed end.

The tray

is

just allows the brass rings

lamp

to fall

a centre hole, which forming the base of the inside, a slight tilt to one side allowing

made hollow with

80

STAGE ILLUSIONS
BRft55 RIMG

Flexi&le
,,WIRE.S

\WITI-I
''.bins

COVER

5TR1MG5

ING flTTfiCHED

TO OIL RESOUOIR
tliem,

when

collapsed, to slide out of sigM, the tray

being painted in a design calculated to disguise the presence of the trap; the hase of the lamp is fitted

with four brass

feet,

as the weight of the

lamp

which revolve inwards as soon is removed.

To perform the

vanish, the conjuror covers the

lamp, which is standing over the hole, and in the action lifts the cloth to show that it is still there. After the assistant picks up the tray the lamp is
lifted; this allows the feet to revolve

and the base

to drop into the hole, the jerk causing the rings to
collapse.

The centre rod

is

now taken
tilt

and

off

the tray, a slight

in the hand being given to the

tray to cause the rings to slide out of sight.

The tray
cover of the

is

now

placed .upon a table, and under
covering the lamp,

cloth

the rod

is

pocketed, leaving the chimney and reservoir held in

the hand, the audience being quite sure the lamp
still

is

there.

STAGE ILLUSIONS

81

ROOT TO

REVOLVE

GuftSS CHIMMEY.

#|0ilRE50VO(R

'RiMO
is now attached to the ring, and drawn up the coat along the back, the strings attached from the reservoir to the ends of the wires preventing them projecting and catching the

A

strong pull

the shape

'

cloth.

The
An

Latest Spirit Picture

shown ; then the canvas

with a number of electric lights is is taken out of the frame and The medium walks stood in front of the easel. around the frame, and stands behind the back of
easel fitted

prove absence of mirrors. is lifted, and fastened on the easel, medium seats himself into a comfortable easy chair, and goes A member of the audience requests into a trance (?) a rose to be painted on the canvas, when, almost F
easel to

Canvas

82

STAGE ILLUSIONS

STAGE ILLUSIONS
immediately, the picture appears.
tric lights are fitted in

83

the frame

is

The reason electhis when the
:

canvas

is

stood on the floor, the assistant cannot be

seen rising
as

by means

of sliding trap,

since

he

is

covered with a dark velvet bag of the same colour
assistant,
is

background. The painting is done by the who should b© a good artisit; an aerograph the instrument used. The blazing urns hide the noise of the aerograph.

Those

of

my

readers v^ho are interested
Jolies should send for a

in Puzzles

and

copy of " Gamagic."

This booK

is

sent

post free anyvirhere.

84

STAGE ILLUSIONS

STAGE ILLUSIONS

85

An

Inexhaustible Coffee Pot

produced from an Empty Table
The performer throws a large silk cloth over an empty table, when on removing same a monster pot
is seen standing in the centre of the Assistant comes forward with a large tray containing a number of cups; these are filled, then handed to members of the audience. This inex-

containing coffee

table.

haustible coffee pot can

fill

about 200 cups

if

necessary.

The pot
lifted
coffee

is

made

in two sections, the top fitting

into the bottom half;

when

closed the false top is

and covered, thus hiding the pot. urn is standing underneath the
is fitted

A

filled

stage,

to

a rubber tube with a ball centre, connecting the coffee pot (see diagram). An assistant

which

under the stage

fills

the pot by working the ball

pump.

Materializing a Table
During the course of his entertainment the performer takes a handsome metal bowl of flowers from a table, and, while he is indulging the audience with some appropriate patter and throwing a few of the flowers to the ladies, his assistant clears away the table on which it stood. After finishing his remarks the performer turns to replace the bowl and finds the table gone; he calls to his assistant, but can get no answer. Showing oomic anger he turns to place the bowl elsewhere, but everything is full up. With a few choice remarks regarding his assistant, he says he
has got to get a table from somewhere; for a second

86

STAGE ILLUSIONS

or two he steps on one side, and behold, the bowl

onoe more stands on

its

table (see sketches).
of identical

For

this trick

two tables

appearance

are required, one of ordinary construction,

other
table

made up

and the shown in Fig. 1 of drawings. This has a circular wood base, decorated to look
as

massive, from which springs a series of four tubes.

STAGE ILLUSIONS

87

each one telescoping into the other. The uppermost tube has a circular metal cap A, about two inches in diameter, to which are attached with spring hinges
six or eight

umbrella wires, covered with thin cloth top. In addition, the metal cap A is provided with three or four vertical strips of metal, the purpose of which will be
as

shown on the plan of table

explained.

A
ing.

sections of the table

long spring runs through the whole of the four and the bowl, as shown on draw-

The bowl itself should be very lightly made, having in the centre a tube B, slightly larger than the diameter of the cap A. This tube projects above the edge of the bowl, as it is advisable that the bowl
should look as small as possible to

make

the trick

more mystifying, but

it

can be hidden by the flowers,

having a holder for stem fixed to the top.

To prepare for the trick the table is telescoped, beginning by folding down the umbrella top and then pushing in the sections until the whole is only equal
in height to the base

and

first

tube section.

It will

then be found that the table will fit closely into the bowl, the stem and top going up intc the tube B, and the base into the foot of the bowl. The guide
strips of metal

D

on cap

A

are designed to prevent

the table coming right away from the bowl

when

released; these will have to go through slots in top Two small catches on edge of bowl will of tube B.

hold table inside, until appearance is desired. A strong spiral spring is not necessary, as the table will drop by its own weight; but something is required to start it, and prevent the umbrella top

from jamming.

This

is

a matter for experiment.

88

STAGE ILLUSIONS

The four tube

sections should

fit

fairly close j if

made when

loose, provision
first

must be made

for a spring stop

at the top of
out.

three sections to ensure rigidity

Telescoped in the bowl, the table has the appearance of Fig. 2 in the drawings. Th« clip C in the base is to accommodate the tube B, while allowing
the base to appear quite substantial and bulky from
the audience point of view.

The table stem and base should be enamelled black and picked out with gold lines and relief, thus concealing section joints.
It will be observed

from drawings that the table

top

when out

is

larger than the base of the bowl.

is where the audience will least suspect that it has been loaded into bowl, owing to the apparent

This

The impossibility of concealing such a large area. bowl itself practically throws its weight on to the stem of the table only, so there will be very little pressure on the umbrella wires, certainly not enough
to depress

them

if

the springs are substantia^l.

The Complete Apparatus
from A. W.

for

any TrlcK
Ltd.,

explained In this book can be obtained

GAMAGE,

Holborn, London, E.C.

STAGE ILLUSIONS

89

A NUMBER OF
BOX ESCAPES EXPLAINED
A
constantly recurring feature of an illusionist's
is

programme
assistant

successfully

the mysterious box from which an escapes, although securely
in.

locked,

corded and almost sewn
if

The general

public will always cordially respond to this effect,
especially
it
is

permitted to thoroughly inspect

and investigate the box before the perfiormanoe,
this latter privilege accounting largely for the

popu-

box escapes, making as it does an appeal to This is where the mental acumen of the audience. a good box trick has a pull over many other escape
larity of
illusions, it

ceal that section of the

being quite possible to so effectually conbox which is to open that

the smartest professionals can freely examine every

part and yet be baffled, although they
the escape
yield their

know where
illusions

must be
secret.

effected.

Few

can

undergo the ordeal of such

close inspection

and not

of most box tricks is the mystery of the secret panel, a deception that probably precedes the Pyramids certainly the priests of the old Nile

The mystery

must have found such devices of material assistance whilst hoodwinking the populace with their fantastic ritual. In the Middle Ages the secret panel became a kind of domestic adjunct, as many an old manor house will testify, and even now there are some so
cleverly constructed that they remain undiscovered.

In modern days, lacking the necessity for frustrating relentless and lawless enemies, man has found an outlet for such ingenuity in box tricks and kindred illusions.

90

STAGE ILLUSIONS

The first two illustrations are concerned with the " £500 box trick," which received the magnificent advertisement of passing through four courts of law
and occupying the attention of seventy-four special jurymen, two High Court judges, and eight Lords of Appeal, before a well-known London magician could be induced to part with a sum of £500. What the costs were of exhorting so much judicial wisdom our readers can easily guess.

The

case

is

well

known

to

many
up

magicians, but

for the benefit of others I here give a brief recapitu-

lation of the events that led
legal proceedings.

to such prodigious

number

famous London magician for a considerable of years had exploited a box trick, the secret of which apparently defied detection. So confident was he of its inviolability (and erstwhile with an eye on a good advertisement) that he offered £500 for an exact imitation of the box. For a number of years

A

STAGE ILLUSIONS

91

many smart gentlemen tried, but failed to obtain the award, but in 1897 three bold and confident men invited inspection of a box that they were sure hit
the right thing at last,

and claimed the £500.
inspect

challenger

refused

to

the

apparatus

The and

repudiated the whole business.

Then the three bold men invoked the
into the Queen's Bench.

aid of the

law in support of their claim, and the case was taken
jury
disagreed,

the

At the first attempt the London magician refusing to

accept a verdict by majority.

On
in

a re-trial the

claimants won,

as they

did

also

the

Court of

Appeal ; not approached the
five

content,
final court,

the

London magician the House of Lords, and
If he could

great judges said

him " nay."

have

taken his case further, no doubt he would have done so; but he had to be content with the last decision,

and probably afterwards meditated on the
of

fallibility

human self-confidence. So much for the history

of the case.

The

follow-

ing description, with the aid of the diagrams, gives

an explanation of the modus operandi according to
the claimants, whose box differs in minor details, but

not in essentials, from the one that carried the reward.

As
to
fall

will

sketch, one

be noted from the details in the second end of the box is a movable panel, made
is

peculiar

inwards when released. The release and " brilliant," simply consisting of

a

running in a concealed channel. The panel The is pivoted and the pivots rest on springs E. tendency of these springs is to keep the panel up, forcing its top edge into a groove in the top frame
marble
of the box.

A

Now,

if

these springs alone constituted

92

STAGE ILLUSIONS

tflarble

R
C

bein<f

vV

.

inqroote hanel "^^' Catibo huUldl'n by _>

,,-rrTT3C7^

/dcx

u

-tlhftect

/i

tfer

marOe

tf)fh

C/»

.

^hoion MthcuJ'cover:

the secret, an observant examiner of the box would soon discover that the panel was movable and that
it

had only

to

be pushed down clear of the top

STAGE ILLUSIONS
groove to be pulled inwards on
possible
its pivots.

93

But the
it is

marble entirely stops such a proceeding, for
to

im-

move the

secret

panel while the

little

sphere lays in the channel below it, and in the. ordinary position of the box on the floor, that is where the marble would lay. A glance at the drawings,

however, will disclose the fact that there is another channel, a short one marked C, and when the box is tipped ill a certain way the marble rolls into C.
Fig. 3 shows the

manner

of tipping.
is

First the box

(containing the assistant)
into the junction of the

tipped to run the marble
it

two channels;

is

then

dropped on

its side

ap.d pulled

up on

to the other

end, leaving the moving panel ion top, and the marble in the bottom of C as shown in Fig. 4. The concealed assistant then pulls down the panel by the
finger holes

B

(see Fig. 2),

makes short work of the

lacings of the canvas cover, gets out, pulls panel to

again, relaoes the cover

and disappears conveniently,
rolls

leaving the demonstrator to replace the box in such

a position that the

marble

under the panel

Of course the box, when opened, is not only again. empty but exactly the same as when previously examined, and defies attempts to find the exit. In the first drawing chains are shown instead of webbing
for supporting the lid; the intention of this
is

to

drown the noise of the rolling marble by rattling when tte box is handled, but rubber lined channels It cannot be gainsaid would be equally efficient. that this is an ingenious box, and until the three gentlemen brought forward their :'iccessful solution, no one got anywhere near it in ail the previous
years.

94

STAGE ILLUSIONS

The
clever

Crystal Chest

The next three illustrations are sketches of another box trick ^the Crystal Chest in which again one end panel is removed to enable the assistant to escape. This particular box is panelled with glass,

last

and the assistant can be seen inside almost until the moment. On examination, nothing can be disis

covered that
secret one
is

end panels; the and could not possibly be opened with the naked hands.
a''.d immovable

suspicious about the

when

shut,

STAGE ILLUSIONS

95

looking at the second of the drawings the is revealed. The assistant takes a small screw-driver into the box with her; after being laced into a canvas cover, the chest is tipped on one end,

On

method

with the secret panel on top, and, of course, placed
in a cabinet with the blinds drawn.
of the screw-driver,

With the

aid

which she

inserts in a small open-

levers

ing in the top edge of the inner panelling, the girl up a centre catch. This catch is actually part

of a rod concealed in the
I

framework

of the box,

and

'

Mii panel ffcm.

fi-imk:

UnlMitw canfoi frem

inside

on each end of the rod
springs.

is

a fixed catch bearing
lifts

on

When
lifts

the captive

the centre catch,

she also

the two end ones as well, thus releas-

ing the panel,
floor of

which

is

now only secured by two

small pegs on the bottom edge, which drop into the

the box.

The panel naturally drops inwards,

no trouble to remove, leaving a clear way for the girl to unlace the cover and escape. To replace the panel it is only necessary to pull it up until the pegs drop into their holes, and then draw it to like a trap-door by placing the thumbs through two of the

and

is

96
air holes.

STAGE ILLUSIONS

The catch

bar, being

latches into their sockets in the panel,

on springs, snaps the and the box

^S^n^l

_^lrc„

If^-t

rvonr View of 6ret 'Pane^
Shouji.!^

ConceWa:' nifcfumigm.

• //////////////'^Trr

Ttillmcj

bacH fianel Qfftr ejcape

stands as before,

and, when finally shown to the audience laoed in its canvas cover, has absolutely no appearance of being tampered with.

STAGE ILLUSIONS

97

The lady afterwards appears from another part There is no difficulty in making a change act of it, if desired, by having another girl or a man get into the box after it is opened. The first occupant then laoes it up again before disappearing, and on the box being unlocked the audience is amazed at what has tranjspired, especially if the box is barely large enough to accommodate one person. A good box this, easy to escape from, and not likely
of the hall.
to get

out of order.
trick

The next box
motif.

has

a

somewhat

different

The East

to

West Mystery

" East to West Mystery," when shown to the audience, appears to be a strong travelling trunk, well clamped at the corners with metal angle-pieces
bossed up.

The

interior

is

lined,

and at intervals

has strengthening battens screwed to the body of the box ; there is nothing unusual in this inside appear-

and considerand yet the examiner will fail to detect looseness in any part of the construction. The trunk having been most thoroughly examined, an assistant steps in, and the lid is securely fastened down and locked. The box is corded, and the knots may be sealed. The trunk is now concealed for a minute in the usual cabinet, with curtains drawn, and, on re-opening, disappearance or change
able strength

ance, no projections or irregularities,

may be

used,

has taken place, leaving the trunk apparently unand the seals intact. An examination of the drawings will reveal the The reader will see that this particular box secret.
scathed, the rope untied

G

98

STAGE ILLUSIONS

&nter

Chme&

£3^1 r Lttcty

STAGE ILLUSIONS
has
its

99

negotiable panel at the back, that the panel
actually

does not
slides in

remove or hinge doorwise, but

top and bottom grooves opening far enough

room to comfortably escape from "open sesame" is one ordinary little screw, one amongst so many with heads all While this screw is in position the back panel alike. is secure from the attacks of the curious, but the moment the assistant inside has removed it with the
to allow a person

the trunk.

The

help of a concealed screw-driver, he or she has only
to use the left-hand back batten as a handle to force open the panel, leaving a clear opening for escape. The diagrams will disclose to the appreciative what a neat, effective, and workmanlike device this is. It is the centre portion of the back of the box that moves, carrying with it the end post of the frame, including the top and bottom bosses and the angle

clamps.
of

When

shut

to,

the large bosses effectually

conceal the mitred joints, and, of course, the returns

the clamps have sham screws on the outside. Looking from the inside, the left-hand batten has three centre screws and one each top and bottom. Now the top and bottom screws only penetrate the batten, whereas the three centre ones fix it to the back panel, so that this batten is independent of the frame of the trunk. On the contrary, the right-hand batten is really fixed top and bottom to the box frame, but two of the centre screws stop before they

reach the panel, the other screw actually holding the Therefore, if the screw is panel to the batten.

removed there
with
it,

is

nothing to prevent the panel from
right-hand

sliding in its channels, carrying the left-hand batten

but leaving the

one

behind

100

STAGE ILLUSIONS

attached to the box frame. When the two battens meet, an aperture has been left sufficient to pass the

body of a man.
panel.

The cording

of the box in no

way

interferes with exit or with the

movements

of the

This box is more adapted to a change act than a simple disappearance, for the obvious reason that if the audience is to examine the box after the performance (not necessarily, of course), the secret screw

STAGE ILLUSIONS

101

should be replaced. If a girl takes the place of a man, or vice versa, he or she can easily replace the screw before the trunk is opened.

The " East
could
first

to

West Mystery "

is

a suggestion for

dressing the act.

An

assistant garbed as an Oriental

an

effect

enter, giving way to a typical English girl, appropriate to a trunk of P. & O. appear-

The Escape
as

The last box trick in " The Escape of Cinderella." It is quite the latest word in this fo:^m of illusion, and remarkable
illusion.

of Cinderella this series may be described

and beautiful in effect. This is a glass-lined trunk There have been others, but nothing like
smoothly working, or so innocent in
strong, important-lookis

so baflBing, so

appearance.

The performer submits a

ing trunk for inspection, which

lined completely

with the usual material used for the purpose, and it is important to notice that this lining discloses no sign of a break from the lip of the box to the floor; there is no pleating, binding, or other deceptive ruse. Clear sheets of plain glass are now taken up, the floor first being completely covered and then the
four sides,
fixed into the corners of the tijunk

the glass dropping into grooved fillets an obvious and

natural method of keeping the glass upright. At this point the box can again be inspected before

" Cinderella " steps

in.

When

the damsel

is

com-

fortably ensconced, the final sheet of glass is placed over her head, leaving her completely walled in with
crystal.

The box

is

shut and locked, roped and sealed

102

STAGE ILLUSIONS

View of Qox ahowinq lady unde*' (of Plore of Box

to taste

;

yet the lady gets clear

all right,

and when

the box

is

opened

it is

seen that the six sheets of glass

occupy their respective positions as before, and can only be taken out in the way they were put in, i.e., from the top. The first illustration gives an idea of the appearance of the trunk before and after the lady's escape, and the small plan of the box shows how the glass is fitted in. Turning to the last set of diagrams the

STAGE ILLUSIONS
secret will at onoe

103

ing the

manner

be disclosed, the top sketch disclosin which the hidden door opens. The

greater part of one end of the trunk opens inwards

from the bottom, taking with it the two end panels with their centre bar and handles, but not the corner
posts of the

inside lining of the

box or the top and bottom rails. The box where it crosses the joint B

forms a cloth hinge, so that when shut the interior

PLffN OF

eoK

ntted

uf'itff

cflaan

shows no projections and the joint is completely hidden. Although on the outside the corner posts are left standing, the flap covers the whole of one end on the inside, and the two particular grooved fillets at that end are attached to it so that when the glass C is inserted, flap, glass, and fillets can all be lifted together (see plan of corner of box). These fillets hide any joint that might otherwise be
apparent.
in the sketch,

The catch A, which is not so prominent as shown and actually only appears to be a ruck

104

STAGE ILLUSIONS

*--^

PI

\

HaMla

Press

Lona

5f>rinq farch'fl tvhicn Poverfi^ 6y iininq

o

rn

liftb loith.banfl

.

dediori Ibrouqli jecre t"

|)anel

(\\m

Plan of Corner
in the bottom lining, consists of a long

bowed spring

of steel, which holds back the bottom edge of the
flap.

In order to release herself, the prisoner in the trunk presses down the centre of the catch A, and the ends of the spring being held loose by two staples

STAGE ILLUSIONS
(see small sketch),
it lies flat,

105

enabling the flap to

be pulled over

it.

The rest is simple; the lady escapes through the aperture and pulls the door to after her. As its
bottom edge is bevelled it readily passes' the spring catch and immediately becomes all secure.

Original Flying Handkerchiefs
Illusion
'Invented by Collins and Bhbtma.

Standing on the stage is a nickel-plated tripod supporting a handsome picture frame similar in design to that illustrated by our artist. Having performed some trick in which a number of silk handkerchiefs are employed, performer selects say half a dozen of

them and arranges them
ing the centre of pillar.
his pistol,

tastefully over the rod cross-

Retiring to opposite side of

aim at the foulards with whereupon they are instantly transported from the cross-bar to the frame above it and reveal themselves in precisely the same order of colour as assigned to them on the arm below. The top of the frame is designed to form a sort of box-like receptacle by adding the two extra pieces A and C (see right-hand sketch), but whilst A is permanently fixed in its position, C, on the other hand, works on two spring hinges which allow it to form either the bottom or back of fake at pleasure, the back, however, being its normal posistage, artiste takes careful
tion.

Six handkerchiefs (duplicates of those to be

106

STAGE ILLUSIONS

vanished from the arm below frame) are concealed

and the flap C, after being folded round to form a bottom to fake, is kept in position by means of a lever catch at right-hand side. To
in this receptacle,

--,

How frame + J/und arf nmdc

ensure the silks falling

when the

flap is released,

a

few small shot are sewn into one corner of each of

them and the opposite corner attached
of fake.

to inside top

The evanishment of the handkerchiefs is somewhat more complicated than their reproduction. The

STAGE ILLUSIONS

107

portion of pillar below cross-bar is hollow, and is traversed by a metal plug connected with bottom of tube by a powerful spiral spring. This spring is

kept extended by means of a very small lever catch
fixed

on outside of

pillar

and released by pulling a

thread attached to it. To a ring on the plug is attached a flexible wire cable of the cycle-brake order, the wires of which branch oflf right and left in a
prong-like

manner and extend

to the

of the cross-bar, which, in its turn,

is

two extremities but a hollow

tube.

To each

of these wires three catgut loops are

fastened at regular intervals for the purpose of receiv-

ing the handkerchiefs, which loops pass through holes
in the rear side of bar of sufficient size to enable the

handkerchiefs to pass easily through them.

The vanish of the handkerchiefs and their subsequent reproduction are actuated by one release, and will be easily comprehended by studying our last diagram, The which shows a back view of the apparatus. thread attached to lever catch holding the flap O of frame passes immediately through a small eyelet on
right side, over the small pulley wheels on lower side

frame, down centre pillar, out again at point marked A, over cross-bar to lever catch supporting plug, through two eyelets, and terminates in a small
of

foot lever fixed just above one of the feet of tripod. downward pressure on the latter with the foot

A

causes the lever catch to be withdrawn from plug and the other catch to release the flap of frame.

To facilitate the withdrawing of the vanished handkerchiefs and the re-faking of the apparatus, the cross-bar is constructed in two pieces, one side (the front) being fastened by means of a pin hinge.

108

STAGE ILLUSIONS

Gf" Gut' /oa/TS

Dicufrcxm ^houiln^ handlferohief fjuH
mitiJIe
tube,

in.

Gocfr op frame and •stimcC ^hcuiiit^ diivctiDn op Pull tHrauqhouK

This arrangement enables the tube to open as shown
in sketch.

STAGE ILLUSIONS

109

The Gambler's Bride

Illusion

Invented by Collins and Bretma.

For the purpose of this illusion, performer is provided with a pack o^ giant playing cards about
which are freely exhibited to prove the absence of any special preparation. After being stacked together they are openly dropped into a large
six feet high,
glass cabinet of sufficient size to just receive

them,

and by means of chains lowered from above the
apparatus
is

pulled clear of the stage to the height

of about seven feet,

and round.

and set rapidly revolving round Now, although the cabinet is quite
and

isolated in mid-air, the cards suddenly disappear

leave in their stead a lady attired as a court card.

The main

secret of the trick lies in the construc-

tion of the cabinet into which the cards are placed.

The base of this opens downwards as a trap, and is kept closed by means of a bolt on the under side. The top framework conceals four spring rollers,
around which are coiled a
like

number

of silk blinds,

the front one painted as a card face (say seven of hearts), the rear one as the back of a card, and the two side blinds made to represent the edges of the

pack
to

intervals.

by painting perpendicular lines The lower ends of these blinds
steel

at

regular

are fastened

rod frame having a metal step profrom the centre of each side, which engage, when blinds are drawn, in the lever catches KK, Fig. '3, concealed in lower framework of glass Pour small hooks projecting inwards from cabinet.

an oblong

jecting outwards

this rod

to prevent cards

frame support a shallow metal tray designed from becoming unstacked when being

110

STAGE ILLUSIONS
is

dropped into cabinet, which tray
for the working.

effectually con-

cealed by the ornajnentation on top of case.

Now

Glass
all

cabinet,

after
is

having

sides

exhibited,

into

position
trap,

wheeled immediately over
visibly

stage

and performer has
cards dropped

the

large

inside and the lid replaced.
cards,

The
at the

on

being put

in

STAGE ILLUSIONS
fop
of

111

the case,
it

naturally
four

and with

the

press down the tray, spring blinds as in Fig. 1,

fl'»i^ CLfter

ymets drawn

which shows a back view.
the rod frame
is

On

reaching the bottom,

securely held

by

lever catches

KK,
4.

the appearance of trick now being shown in Fig.

112

STAGE ILLUSIONS

Whilst pyerformer and his assistant busy themselves with hooking the elevating chains on to the cabinet, lady below stage is equally busy lowering cards
vacated by the pack.

through trap and then herself occupying the space All being ready, the cabinet

11^

O

J^etck

of-

[ththod of releasing

Iflinds

fn/ch.ff-

Fig 4- -^Ketch

.Ihtiuiino
tea.!

Uinds dramn an£i

is

by performer.

pulled clear of the stage and set rapidly revolving On hearing pistol shot, lady pulls

release forward with her foot, causing the blinds to fly up and leave her revealed in their stead.

The inside top of cabinet should have a ring or strap in the centre for lady to hold, to prevent her
from swaying.

Wliff>t;!{ii}i.\

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